Skip to main content

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

514                 Monr.RX GERMAN I.ITKRATKRK

in RrScbw ins SitMarc (1952). Twt> f ^ her n< >vels have a particulat
interest for this country    Das liinhn: and Das Kralwmest, and this
is due to the fact that during the war she was an exile, teaching in
schools, in Scotland and Holland, Das I Unborn (1948), begun 1940
in Edinburgh and finished in Glasgow, is in the form of a diary,
written by Sir James Gniham, the 'unicorn' of the story, one of
the famous painters of the da}*; nominally he is held back in
Florence by a commissi< >n to paint the Duke of Albany, the Bonnie
Prince Charlie of days long past, now a besotted drunkard. But
the pivot of the action is the plot of certain Jacobites to have Sir
James adopted m the son and heir of this last scion of the Stuarts;
the plot was that he should land on the Scottish coast and march
on Edinburgh. But Sir James is killed in a duel Actually the
interest centres to a great extent on the contrast of the rigid Scots
nobleman, faithful to his yhadow of a king, with the dramatist
Alfieri, the lover of the wife of Charles Kdward, as he is in 1777
and as he will be at the height of his powers; here we have the
existential doctrine that 'what 1 shall be, I am*. The contrary pic-
ture is that of Charles Jklwarcl as a compound of sot in the present
and of glamorous and clashing adventurer in the still unforgotten
past; in the case of both we have the proof by contrast, by way of
exemplifying the cardinal doctrine of the new technique, that time
is permanent in change. In Das Krtibemiest (1951) finished in 1948
in Llandudno> the technique of magic realism is uncompromis-
ing. There is contrast of conscious and unconscious will; the
happenings are on different levels (fytfbwsse auj wrschiedenen
Ebemn); and regularly in the course of a dialogue the thoughts of
a speaker ate interpolated at length, (Sajya mdMmen) The story is
that of unedifying happenings at a co-educational English second-
ary school with a very un-English assortment of teachers. Die
GmUchte des reichen Jungfingf (1952) is another experimental novel,
and as such daringly extreme in mood and method, In the first
place there is an obvious allusion to the story of the rich man's
son in the Bible, for Adam Leant jew, the hero, is the son of a rich
factory owner in the Polish town in Dymno, who is willing to cast
away the privileges of his class to follow some leader or other and
drifts away to Communism* He comes into contact with a Russian
agent of Moscow, Iwanow, who has been a umversity%teacher in
Vietma, an intellectual who brilliantly expounds the new faith. But
this Communism is just one of the multiple states of mind (Sato-